Viewpoint by Peter Axel Nielsen, professor, Computer Science
Digitalisation is an essential and interesting topic requiring our knowledge and competences. It is important because the university is likely to make digitalisation a strategic issue in the coming years. It is also important because our students expect us to digitalise our educations - perhaps their expectations are even more dramatic and more advanced than what we have in mind. The Corona situation and how we have dealt with it has shown us the top of the iceberg. We are at the beginning of the beginning, and we have not yet reached the end of the beginning. Digitalisation is even more important because the companies and public organisations we collaborate with are currently undergoing equally severe changed as part of or due to digitalisation.
Digitalisation is more than having access to information technologies. Digitalisation is the first level of using information technologies, and it is often done by digitising existing practices and processes. Digital transformation is more radical and involves new practices and new processes. For example, calling a taxi in Denmark has already been digitalised though the rest of the taxi ride has not changed in several decades; but how will we, how can we, how should we transform our end-to-end mobility? UBER is a first-mover in a new kind of taxi operation, but what are the competing ideas, and how can we contribute to improving end-to-end mobility?
Digital transformation is not easy, few know about it so far - and yet - it involves us all as university researchers, as consumers, and as citizens. Hence, we need to build our competences and increase our knowledge of digital transformation. We need to figure out how it relates to the disciplines in which we do research, and how it relates to our own research and teaching.
I sincerely hope that digital transformation and not only digitalization will be a genuine part of the new university strategy. I am interested in discussing how that can happen and how my colleagues see the issue and the raised concerns. I think my viewpoint is timely, and it does not require a top management reply.